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With the #MeToo Movement Picking Up Steam, Do We Stand United?

By Mason Masotta; For the Clock
On February 23, 2018

With the #MeToo Movement Picking Up Steam, Do We Stand United?

This is not an easy issue to cover. There is no single villain to expose or physical battle to be won. Sexual harassment and assault in media has been brought to the forefront as dozens of victims come forth on an almost daily basis. I originally covered the topic back in November when news of the Weinstein story rst broke. It was a truly shocking and frightening prospect to imagine a single man being able to so negatively a ect the lives of many aspiring stars in the industry.

I also warned that it would not be easy to change the mentality of those in charge of lmmaking or even the public’s reaction to it, but that it would be a united e ort in order to x it. The response has been anything but united.

Instead of addressing bad behavior, it feels that the entire issue has turned into “men versus women.” Men are being accused of everything from full-on criminal assault to untactful irting. The di erence between these two extremes is incredibly important to remember. One is a crime that should be punished by the full extent of the law after a legal proceeding. The second, on the other hand, while possibly uncomfortable, is not violent, life threatening, or dangerous.

I’m always trying to stay educated on what’s going on in Hollywood, but I wanted to reach out and see where the students of PSU stood or thought about this movement and the many stories that come out almost every day now.

Jon O’Hare, a sports management major, said about fears that men have about how their behavior is perceived by women said, “I think people are way too concerned about it. Only guilty people are the ones who should worry. People could make false allegations, but I have no reason not to believe when it’s rst reported. The clearest indicator, a lot of the time, is when many people come out against a perpetrator as a group, which just isn’t something you can ignore.”

Asia Merrill, sophomore radio host, voiced her own support for the movement, as well as concerns about how it could be manipulated. She said, “Of course the #MeToo movement provides solidarity between victims and calls attention to the striking problem both within the entertainment industry and our society with sexual assault. But, I worry that some of the nuances in interpersonal interactions, as well as a new absolute willingness to accept the story of the victim, will be exploited for the sake of power or revenge. I have no objection to the movements themselves, but I do believe we should avoid over-compensating and ying head rst to the opposite extreme.”

When asked about concerns he had as a male when the media would quickly decry any male celebrities accused, exchange student Bao Nguyen said, “Yeah it’s kind of scary for me tolookatasaguy,butIthinkitisa necessity for women to be able to express and protect themselves. It’s all important because, with us all being listeners, we need to hear the account and form our own opinion and deal with it as a society together.”

Finally, I looked to get a perspective on the issue from a criminal justice major, Josh Warrington. Warrington, who, like I attempted to do back in my November article, called for unity as we move forward. He said, “I think it’s good that women are comfortable enough to be able to talk about these things and share their stories. And the more attention they get, the better it is for the cause. If anything, they need more support, because, as sad as it sounds, I don’t know if they will really be able to resolve the existing problematic mindset without the support of other men.”

The entire movement captures the attention of the nation because of its celebrity-fueled nature, but it is also equally representative of society as a whole, and asks everyone the same kind of question: When a story comes forward from a victim, what is the best reaction to it? Is it to condemn the accused automatically? Is it appropriate to dismiss the story until more evidence comes forward?

The reality is, there isn’t a concrete answer readily available. The existence of sexual harassment not just at the top, but at all levels, has been a taboo topic quietly dealt with almost in an air of ignorance for the masses. Now that there is such spotlight on many of the subjects involved, there are a lot of questions about oneself that have to be asked.

One of the most interesting is who gets to be involved. With the majority of victims being women, does this make it a reality check for men? Do men have any place in the conversation, or is it their responsibility to merely lend an ear? 

Mason Masotta

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